Alternative Energy Law (AEL)

July 20, 2023


In 1983, Iowa became the first state in the U.S. to adopt a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by enacting the Alternative Energy Production law. The Iowa RPS requires its two investor-owned utilities (MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy Interstate Power and Light) to own or to contract for a combined total of 105 megawatts (MW) of renewable generating capacity and associated energy production.

Eligible Technologies

Eligible resources include solar, wind, waste management, resource recovery, refuse-derived fuel, agricultural crops or residues, wood-burning facilities, or small hydropower facilities.


The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has allocated the 105 MW requirement between the two utilities based on each utility's percentage of their combined estimated Iowa retail peak demand in 1990:

  • MidAmerican Energy: 55.2 MW (52.57% of demand) and
  • Alliant Energy Interstate Power and Light (IPL): 49.8 MW (47.43% of demand).

A utility must meet its RPS obligation by either owning renewable energy production facilities located in Iowa or entering into long-term contracts to purchase or wheel electricity from renewable energy production facilities located in the utility's service area.


The IUB issued an order in November 2007 (in Docket No. AEP-07-1) approving specific generating facilities designated by MidAmerican and IPL for satisfying the utilities’ RPS requirements. This order cleared the way for the utilities to participate in renewable energy credit (REC) trading programs by differentiating between renewable electricity production capacity used to comply with Iowa law and that which remains uncommitted. 

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Iowa
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Thermal Electric
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectric
  • Municipal Solid Waste
  • Landfill Gas
  • Anaerobic Digestion
Standard: 105 MW of renewable generating capacity
Technology Minimum: N/A
Credit Trading/Tracking System: No (utilities may only participate in REC credit trading programs for renewable energy production unrelated to fulfilling their AEL requirements)


Name: Iowa Code § 476.41 et seq.
Date Enacted: 1983 (amended 1991, 2003)
Name: IAC 199-15.11(1)


Name: Iowa Utilities Board
Address: 1375 E. Court Avenue
Des Moines IA 50319-0069
Phone: (515) 725-7300

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.